Fast focus: What should we do about the farm labor shortage? Fix immigration laws

February 17, 2013 

Imagine leaving your loved ones behind to illegally enter another country whose language you don't understand.

Then imagine the best job you can hope for pays $10/hour, with no benefits. You get no paid holidays, vacation, sick leave or health benefits. Out of that pay comes income tax and Social Security, paid to a phony number, guaranteeing that you never will receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits.

That is about the best undocumented immigrants can get. Worse off are the field hands providing farm products cheaply, because their hourly pay is even less. We need an immigrant work permit program -- and more. The immigrants need it and the farmers need it if they are to have a stable worker supply. In addition, the workers and their families deserve recognition for their contribution to our great society.

Immigration policies today are broken; the harm to families, hardworking and innocent people, is incalculable.

With liberty and justice for all?

Congress, do your job!

-- LYLE WILHELMI, Richland

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